Beyond The Sunset-1
by Tanuja Chatterjee
It was late morning as she looked outside, through the window of the taxi, marooned, amidst the wild and endless noise of the horns honking all around. The traffic was in total chaos. People moved about all over; on the pavements, on roads, in between the stranded traffic, she could see faces everywhere! Ignoring traffic rules and the hazards of traffic accidents, all seemed to rush towards their respective legions, could it be that they didn't care! She wondered. On a closer look, she found that they mounted on and off the public transport, anywhere and in anyway, as per their own convenience. Moreover, all were in some sort of a hurry, to be somewhere and none had the time to look up and notice the situation. Anubha thought, "Our life today is nothing more than a routine and rat-race. Perhaps, all were rushing towards their place of work". Well, why perhaps! Of course they were! It was 11:30a.m - office time for Kolkata. Strange land with its strange timings! Standing still for quite a while now, she observed many things and many events unfold before her eyes. She was happy, all these would become kernel of little vignettes she wrote each night, before retiring. Her hands were full. What a fine way to keep alive her passion! And the other relief was the weather- it was windy and not sultry at all, it helped her to stay calm.
Since Anubhav left for hostel, to pursue his engineering studies, she had become more of a listener. Whenever Aniruddh asked her to interact or to put up her views and comments on certain issues, knowing perfectly well that she loved to talk about such matters , she preferred to stay silent, and just smiled. It would put him off and he would wind up the session of conversation, with her, on a heart breaking note. It surprised him to see her stay unaffected. Earlier, everything brought tears to her eyes, be it a casual body gesture or a curt answer or a slight word, but now she would slowly get up and leave the room; not to cry her heart out somewhere else but to pick up a pen and begin writing once again. Anubha appeared to be floating away from the family and the world and turning into a social recluse. This worried Aniruddh, to some extent, at least when he was at home!
It had been two years now that Anubhuti left the nest, to follow her dream job. Since Aniruddh became the president of the company, he too was on a constant move, all the time. He became busier than before. Now, he was off to the U.S for a week. So, all that was left now, in that once- so- bubbly- house, were Anubha and Anikan-her Labrador retriever puppy. The lingering emptiness of the house, haunted her and became too much to bear. To avoid getting caught in the web of depression, she had called Aniruddh, the night before, to seek comfort. It was his idea that she should go out of the house and enjoy her day. He convinced her that this was her time for herself, when she could throw all cautions to the wind and just be herself. As she loved to visit Victoria Memorial and that small but amazing Calcutta Museum within its building, she decided to be there the next day.
She was almost there had this chaos not happened at Minto Park crossing! But, now the traffic had begun to flow, slowly. At the crossing, she saw the culprit...the cause of chaos... two large flat-tyre vehicles, stood side by side, obstructing the flow. "Thank goodness,some action is being taken and the jam is getting over!" she said. Driver looked at her, through his front view mirror and replied," Sister,this jam is a daily nuisance we encounter." Anyhow, the taxi stayed in motion. Slowly but steadily, she reached Victoria around 12 noon.
Wow! The sight of Victoria Memorial delighted her. She loved to be here. As the day was very romantic, her thoughts went back to Aniruddh. She had lost count of the number of times they came together here, sometimes with the children, who played badminton in it's lawns, at the back of the building, while they talked, sitting under the shade of some tree. Today, it was she and her own self for company. Quickly she pushed aside these thoughts and asked, "How much do I owe you?"
"Rs. 150", came a sharp reply. She opened her purse and handed over the amount thinking, "I know you are asking much more than the actual fare, but today, I won't argue. I just want to get out of this taxi." (to be continued....)